Out the window, Korea’s rolling byA handful of travel agents offer train tours in Korea; here’s some of what’s available now.
Foreigner Tour Package
Aju Tour organizes a variety of tours geared toward expatriates. Among its most popular train tours is the K-003, a five-day tour of Gyeongju, Busan and Jejudo island with an English-speaking guide.
Though it’s marketed as a train tour, air travel is involved. On the first day, travelers head to Gyeongju by express train and tour Tumuli Park and Cheomseongdae, the oldest observatory in Asia. On the second day, it’s more sightseeing in Gyeongju; later in the afternoon, the group heads south to Busan, where there is a tour of sites including Yongdusan Park and Busan’s famous fish market. On the third day, tourists fly to Jejudo for the rest of the tour. Cost per person is 1,050,000 won ($933). For more information, go to www.ajutours.com or call (02)778-0026.
Mount Geumgang Tour Package
This three-day train tour package centers around the beautiful scenery of North Korea’s Mount Geumgang, which has only recently been made accessible to South Koreans. Guryong waterfall and a hot spring are two of the attractions on this tour.
Two nights are spent on the train. No English-speaking guide is provided, so most foreigners who take this tour come with a Korean friend. Cost is 152,000 won when departing from Monday to Thursday, and 164,900 won when departing on Fridays. Tours do not depart on Saturdays or Sundays. Call (02)736-9111 or 1544-7788 for more information.
Buseoksa Fall Leaves Train Tour
This day trip ― another “train tour” that’s only partly by train ―includes Buseoksa temple in Yeongju and Sosu Confucian School. It is available on weekends until Nov. 21.
After departing from Seoul by bus at 7:30 a.m., the group makes a short stop at Dan-yang to see famous Sainam Rock. In Yeongju, Buseoksa temple has a beautiful path, lined with gingko trees. The tour ends with a train ride of about three and a half hours from Yeongju to Seoul, returning at 8:36 p.m.
The package includes transportation, admission fee, lunch, guide and traveler’s insurance. No English-speaking guide is provided. Cost is 45,000 won for adults and 37,000 won for children. For more information, call 1588-8526, extension 502, or go to the Web site barota.webtour.com.
Taebaek Fall Leaves Train Tour
This one-day package centers around the fall leaves of Korea’s east coast, in Gangwon province. It is available on weekends until Nov. 28.
The first stop after Seoul is Yeongwol county, where the group will be taken to see Sondol, a locally famous rock formation, and Cheongryeongpo, a natural land outlet surrounded on three sides by the Seo River. The next stop is the city of Taebaek, followed by a stopover in Jeongseon county for a quick view of Jeongamsa temple.
The tour will return to Seoul around 9 p.m. No English-speaking guide is provided. Cost is 39,000 won for adults and 35,000 won for children. For information, call 1588-8526, extension 502, or go to barota.webtour.com.
Naejangsa Temple and Baekyangsa Temple Tour
This two-day tour by KTX includes an overnight stay in Jeongeup. It’s only available tomorrow, Wednesday and Nov. 6.
The tour departs from Yongsan Station; it visits Mount Naejang on the first day and Baekyangsa on the second. The cost is 155,000 won for adults and 135,000 won for children, but varies according to how many people share a room. Call 1588-8526, extension 501, or go to barota.webtour.com.
by Joe Eun-hye